Importance of high self-esteem

Having high self-esteem goes beyond simply liking oneself; it includes elements of love, value, and dignity. (Photo: Freepik)
From a young age, our parents and the media have preached the importance of confidence. We are told that having high self-esteem is important if we are ever to become successful. Unfortunately, there is no perfect manual on how to gain self-esteem. However, working towards having high self-esteem is vital for having meaningful interactions with others and improving our mental wellness.اضافة اعلان

What is self-esteem and why does it matter?

The American Psychological Association defines self-esteem as “the degree to which the qualities and characteristics contained in one’s self-concept are perceived to be positive.” In essence, it is the amount of respect and admiration one gives themselves.

Having high self-esteem goes beyond simply liking oneself; it includes elements of love, value, and dignity. Self-esteem is dependent on many factors, including genetics, personality, life experience, age, and social circumstances. An individual’s self-esteem can also fluctuate over time.

Healthy self-esteem is vitally important to individual growth. With high self-esteem, one will generally have more positive relationships and confidence in their abilities. This allows a person to be more receptive to feedback and more likely to utilize their skills effectively. Overall, self-esteem will help improve assertiveness, confidence, and resilience. It will also help with forming healthy relationships and managing expectations.

Misconceptions of self-esteem

There are many ideas and concepts that are similar to self-esteem. Self-concept is the perception of one’s behaviors and characteristics. It requires people to know their tendencies, thoughts, and preferences. Self-concept is the overarching idea of how we conceptualize ourselves, in which self-esteem is an important component.

Self-image is similar to self-concept; it is the idea of how we view ourselves. Self-concept is more objective and self-image is more subjective. An individual’s self-image may be close to reality, but it is often not perfectly aligned with the objective truth.

Self-worth is also very similar to self-esteem, but there is an important distinction between the two. Self-esteem is our personal and internal perception, whereas self-worth is our perception of ourselves on a global scale and our value to others.

Similarly, self-compassion is the ability not to be harsh or overly critical of ourselves. Self-compassion can be an integral part of developing healthy self-esteem in many people.

Self-confidence also has a great amount of overlap with self-esteem. It is the ability for us to trust ourselves, especially when dealing with challenges and solving problems. The important difference between the two is that self-confidence is derived from external factors of success and value, whereas self-esteem focuses on internal factors.

Although similar, they may be mutually exclusive in which a person might trust their abilities but lack perceptions of value in themselves. Like self-confidence, self-efficacy is a person’s belief in their ability to succeed. Self-efficacy is more specific than self-esteem and is largely based on external success.

How to improve your self-esteem

Improving one’s self-esteem may be a long endeavor, but the benefits make it worthwhile. Some small actions and strategies can be applied to everyday life to improve self-esteem. Some methods may seem mundane, but they function as tiny steps towards progress.

One of the simplest things a person can do to help boost their self-esteem is to accept compliments. Sometimes, it may not be easy to hear compliments or praise from another person, and as a result, we may deflect. Unfortunately, some studies have found that difficulty hearing compliments directly correlates with low self-esteem.

Additionally, it is important not to be too harsh on yourself. This is primarily done by developing a healthy level of self-compassion and avoiding negative self-theories and self-talk. In conjunction with developing self-compassion, it should be noted that in order to create a healthy sense of self-esteem, one should focus more on developing their self-concept and base their self-image as objectively as possible.

Most importantly, to gain self-esteem, one must recognize and appreciate the value of self-esteem itself. Recognizing the positive benefits of life satisfaction and well-being will motivate improvement. It will become easier to accept yourself with your strengths and flaws. We should explore and take pride in what makes us unique and happy to find value in the person we are.

Some may find it difficult to make these changes on their own. One of the best methods of improving self-esteem is to seek professional help from a psychologist or therapist. Through professional support, mental health experts may use cognitive-behavioral therapy, which can help identify some of the issues preventing a person from looking at themselves positively. It can also help build skills that improve optimism.

A gratitude journal is a simple, yet effective way to begin to appreciate yourself. When journaling, start by writing all the positive things about yourself, including the aspects of yourself that you are proud of and your accomplishments. Taking the time to write about yourself will force you to think more objectively, and it also will serve as a pick-me-up that can be read when feeling down.

Similarly, people may benefit by physically writing or taking mental notes of their thoughts. Whenever a negative thought arises, you can actively and productively work through it or move past it. When a positive thought arises, work to amplify its importance. This acts as a way to work through issues internally and more objectively in the real world.

Overall, it is important to think of yourself as your own friend. We find ourselves more patient, kind, forgiving, and encouraging with those we care about. By loving yourself as you would a friend, you can more effectively apply this positivity to yourself.

Is it possible to have too much self-esteem?

As with nearly anything, too much of one thing can be bad. With self-esteem, the issue is not having too much of it, but instead how much of it is objectively valid. An overinflated ego relates more to self-image than it does self-esteem. Having high self-esteem does not equate to arrogance but rather means loving yourself.

To be a well-rounded individual and improve overall wellness, it is important to recognize flaws and work to improve them.

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